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I got this in an estate sale years ago and I've never been able to figure out how old it might be and where it was made. There are no makers marks that I can find. It is similar in design to festoons painted in the 1750s in France, but of course that doesn't mean it is from there or then. You can see a higher resolution picture in the Wikipedia under Festoon. If you want me to take a detail picture of any part, let me know. The variety of plant and flowers is remarkable. This is some fine work, as far as I can tell. It's about 36" from side to side and the drops are about 18" long. Thanks for your help.
I haven't been posting much on here recently, mostly because I've been too busy... BUT, this commission was too good not to share: A regular customer found this "Victorian Briarwood walking stick" in an antique shop. (for $40 USD) [It's not actually bent, my phone just refused to accept that fact.] He of course noticed this: The blade, if there was one, was absolutely frozen in the stick/scabbard and it wouldn't even wiggle. It rattled slightly, but the sound was just from the loose cap at the tip. When he asked about it, the antique dealer said "I bought it in an auction house on my most recent trip to England, as part of a lot of 'pre-1850 antique canes' and I don't know enough about weapons to risk my reputation by saying it is anything more than a walking stick." [I don't recall which auction house, but it was reputable in the business.] Obviously, he bought it, and brought it to me with the instructions to figure out how to get it apart, preferably without breaking it, but considering the price he paid, using whatever means were necessary [within a rather broad definition of reasonable.] I decided to go with the slow and steady approach to start and tied a paracord harness along the full length: I put the handle in the pipe side of my 50 lb bench vise, with ample padding: Then I hooked the loop at the end of my harness to the frame of my barn door with a ratchet strap: And started to apply tension, very slowly and carefully: Absolutely nothing happened! So I cranked a little more, then a little more etc. A couple hours later, the ratchet maxed out and refused to allow me to crank it another notch! [1,000 lb working load rating] So I left it overnight, nothing. So I cranked it a bit tighter... 3 days later [no joke], i gave up on that strategy as it hadn't budged in the slightest. That begged the question, "what was I actually working on?" So it was time to take some fancy pictures: [Disclaimer: Nobody at my full time job would ever bend the rules regarding the use of highly sensitive and very expensive medical equipment... not even at 04:00 hrs. I took the pictures with my cell phone camera, maybe not directly as there was a computer console in the way, but that doesn't have any relevance...] So now what? [After picking my jaw back up from the floor.] Research and consultation, at least a metric ton of each. [Continued in next post.]